‘SC has no right to dictate Congress’


Alvarez to defy order to convene joint martial law review session

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez threatened to “tear down” any Supreme Court (SC) order compelling Congress to convene a joint session to review Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

In an interview with reporters on Thursday, June 8, Alvarez said Congress would ignore any directives from the SC, stressing that the judiciary and the legislature are co-equal branches.

“Mag-issue ng direktiba ang Supreme Court telling Congress, dictating Congress mag-convene kayo ng joint session, punitin ko ‘yan (If the Supreme Court issues an order dictating Congress to convene, I’ll rip up that order),” Alvarez said.

The House Speaker made the statement after martial law critics filed two petitions before the Supreme Court, asking the judiciary to compel the Congress to convene a joint review session on the proclamation.

“Balikan muna nila ‘yung law books (They should review the law books). How can the Supreme Court dictate Congress what to do? Co-equal body ‘yan,” Alvarez said.

On May 23, Duterte ordered the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao amid the ongoing confrontation between government forces and an Islamic States (IS)-linked militant group in Marawi City.

Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that the president of the Philippines may place the country under martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus  in case of invasion or rebellion for not exceeding than 60 days.

The  law, however, also gives Congress the power to revoke or extend such proclamation or suspension for a period.

The Supreme Court may also review the “sufficiency of the factual basis” of the proclamation or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus following an “appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen.”

Expressing its “full support,” both the House of Representatives and the Senate adopted a separate resolutions last week that both  found “no reason” to revoke Duterte’s proclamation.

“Hindi ko alam anong logic meron. Eh nagpasa na majority ng Senado supporting the declaration of martial law. Nagpasa ng resolution ang House of Representatives majority supporting the declaration of martial law. Magconvene ka ng joint session, ano pag-uusapan natin? (I don’t get the logic there. The Senate and majority in the House of Representatives already passed a resolution supporting martial law. If we convene on joint session, what else will we talk about?),” Alvarez said.

Asked if defying the Supreme Court would result to constitutional crisis, Alvarez it would happen but the Congress cannot be blamed about it..

“Eh talagang magkakaroon ng constitutional crisis. At hindi namin kasalanan ‘yun (There will indeed be a constitutional crisis. But it won’t be our fault),” he responded.

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